I have a love/hate relationship with the weather in Western New York. People talk about how wonderful the four seasons. Don’t get me wrong, those seasons are beautiful. Each one has several aspects which help them define that season. It’s the shorter, darker, colder days that follow that help increase my symptoms of depression.
I woke at 6 this morning and decided not to run. There was a 75% chance of rain. I’ve run in the rain and like running in the rain…in the summer. Not when the temperature is 45-degrees. When I grabbed Bandit’s leash he rose and eagerly followed me to the door. Rain began to fall with such ferocity it was as if the skies simply opened up and emptied their entire contents at once. I decided our long walk would have to wait. We did walk around the house because God only knows when I wake in the morning and don’t head straight for the bathroom, there could be problems.
It’s 9 AM and it’s still dark outside. The weather forecast for the remainder of the day is the same: cold, damp and rainy. Looks like there won’t be a bonfire tonight.
I love the sun. I mean I love everything about it. I love the heat, the energy I feel when I can see a beautiful sunrise or sunset. I’m like the dog that lays in a patch of sun and moves as that sunlit patch makes its way across the floor. I take Vitamin D3 supplements daily, 4-thousand mcg/day to be exact. I often stop taking these supplements during the summer because I hope to secure enough from the sun to keep my levels where they need to be to maintain optimum health. A recent blood test showed my levels at 24. A normal level should be around 50. This explains my fitful sleep, that lack of energy I feel throughout the day which causes me to be irritable for seemingly no reason. I overeat and that lack of energy translates into a lack of desire to get up at 4:30 AM and go for a run, or to run at all.
I have a therapy client who I see who struggles with the same issues when it comes to the seasonal changes. She arrives in my office for an appointment and if the sun is out, she slides a chair into the corner getting her chair as close as possible to the window where she proceeds to stare out the window throughout the session. Often her eyes remain closed as her face remains upturned and she discusses the issues related to today’s session. I smile as I can relate to the importance of the life-giving sun. Facebook is adorned with beautiful photos of Fall. Brightly colored leaves, sunlight streaming through tree branches highlighting those beautiful Fall colors. No one takes photos when the skies are grey, the temperatures hover in the 40’s and dampness seems to seep right into your bones and keep you chilled for hours.
As Fall is upon us and Winter is around the corner, it becomes important for me to not allow myself to get into a depressive rut or to stay in one if I have fallen from my intended path. When the sun is out providing much-needed warmth, Vitamin D and improvements to my mood, I find myself, like a small child on a school night not wanting to return to the house. As night approaches and sunlight fades, I find myself wanting to remain outside basking in what remains of the heat of the day as the surrounding blacktop and concrete continue to radiate the heat those surfaces have absorbed. My mood, after even several minutes of being in/seeing the sun warms my soul.
To finish my day with a beautiful sunset, that is to have truly enjoyed the day. I am grateful for the opportunity.